There are a multitude of reasons why I’m struggling to eat lately.
The nausea became disruptive late last year. Initially, I thought it was because of my eating disorder. I used to be horribly bulimic and purged nearly everything I ate, so it made sense that I was experiencing discomfort with eating when I stopped purging–my body wasn’t used to actually digesting that much food. As days of not purging turned into weeks, and weeks turned into months, it felt strange that the nausea hung around, but nobody seemed concerned. Unlike ever before, there were foods that made me feel sick just by their smell. Desserts and pretty much anything with a high sugar content were also downright unappetizing (I never thought I’d say that).
Until lately, though, I ate enough to maintain my weight. In fact, I gained about 15 pounds during the past six months. I’m assuming part of this was my body attempting to figure out where the hell my set point is, and it took a lot of Zofran to eat that much food, but it didn’t actually hurt.
Now, eating hurts. The nausea is still here, and the moment food (or more than a few ounces of fluid) hits my stomach, there’s sharp pain. Not cramping, not bloating, not “Oh, I’m so full!” discomfort. Pain.
Not only does food hurt my stomach, chewing hurts my jaw. I can’t remember my TMJ ever hurting as it has of late. As someone who used to be horribly bulimic, dreading eating feels weird as hell–and disturbingly convenient. I’m not going to lie–truly not wanting to eat brings about a weird calm, as turning down food used to feel impossible–and that’s where it gets complicated. There’s still a residual fucked up part of me that gets excited when I lose weight, even though I know I don’t need to.
I absolutely do not want to return to the hell of an eating disorder. I’m terrified of throwing up due to the nausea, so I’m very reluctant to eat or drink when I feel it. I think throwing up (involuntarily) would be horribly confusing, and I know that voluntarily throwing up would be ridiculously easy. It’s a line that’s blurry to the extent of barely existing.
Yes, I think about purging, especially as the nausea and pain have worsened. When my stomach hurts, I know throwing up would make me physically feel better (in the immediate sense, anyway), and that’s scary. The desire to purge does not feel connected to weight, guilt, negative body image, or anything of the sort.
Complicating things further, in the last month, I’ve lost about seven of the fifteen pounds I gained during the previous six months. I’ve never been able to lose weight without purging, so this is new territory for me. During the day, I’m totally aware that not eating enough is a slippery slope, but my thought process tends to go something like this:
Oh, cool, I haven’t eaten many calories today–maybe I can lose some of the weight I gained. I don’t need to lose weight (I actually believe that). Oh, shit, I haven’t eaten many calories today–my brain isn’t going to work, and I’ll have trouble sleeping tonight. I need to eat something substantial, but everything substantial involves too much chewing, and I’ll be even more miserable if I’m in pain. I could have Ensure, but that’s too much liquid. I guess I’ll a little bit of yogurt (or something similar).
I eat the yogurt, and the ensuing pain prevents me from eating for hours afterwards. As this pattern repeats over days and weeks, I lose weight, and losing weight is confusing. Eating is confusing. Everything is fucking confusing.
I have an endoscopy scheduled in a few days, so hopefully that’ll bring about some answers.